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Danville Area Teachers Prepare to Strike

DANVILLE — About 100 teachers, mostly from the Danville Area School District, stood together Tuesday night at an informational picket before a school board meeting at the high school.

Teachers in the district have been working under an expired contract since late 2012. Negotiations with the school board have not led to an agreement. The teachers union calls a strike planned for April 17 its last option.

“The board has a decision to make. Come to the table bargain in good faith, realistically, or a strike is possible,” said Mark McDade, a PSEA representative.

School board president Allan Schappert said the board is willing to compromise,  but won’t agree to requests that do not have the entire community in mind.

“So, obviously there is a difference in opinion. ‘Well, you have money that belongs to us and we want it.’  We take more of a conservative approach,” said Schappert.

The teachers union made it known it’s not about the big bucks, but more about a fair contract. Some of the parents who came to the meeting hope this contract won’t affect their wallets.

“We are all feeling the economy hurt right now, the cost of living. I’m not getting a raise because of it. I know that’s part of my job,” said Liz Swartz, a parent.

If a strike happens, teachers said it could last until the state Department of Education forces them back into the classroom, which could push back graduation and affect afterschool activities.

“There are also kids that are upset because they think it’s all the teachers, but they don’t realize it’s more than the teachers wanting a better contract or them wanting to work out some kind of negotiation,” said Chris Morgan, a student at Danville Area High School.

Both sides hope to come to an agreement at a negotiating session set for April 16, one day before teachers plan to go on strike.

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